What do animals do when children are sleeping?
Featuring creatures young children are likely to know, this book has the answers. Each spread’s left-hand page describes the animal’s daytime activities, while the right focuses on nighttime behaviors. Realistic watercolor illustrations highlight the animals and, for the night scenes, incorporate the midnight blue introduced on the endpapers. Golden moonlight encircles sleeping creatures, including a frog, ducks, and horses. Young readers will easily recognize the brilliant fluttering daytime butterflies and see children feeding a pet goldfish or playing with another pet. The three or four couplets on each spread end in rhyme (with a fun bush/shushhh pair) or near rhyme (down/found, sleep/feet, line/eye, safe/late). Given the couplets and rhyme, readers may expect a rhythmic read, but the lack of consistent meter makes smooth reading a challenge. However, unusual nighttime facts are a plus. “With tiny clawed feet, [a butterfly] hangs upside-down, / making it difficult to be found.” Goldfish sleep with their eyes open since they have no eyelids; ducks sometimes sleep in a line, with the first and last guarding the rest; bees’ antennae droop. (Unfortunately, both illustration and text incorrectly imply that bees’ comb is aligned horizontally instead of vertically.) Although the story ends with a bedtime message, most listeners will probably not be sleepy at the end. Recurring child characters present White, with one scene including racially diverse friends.
This may not encourage sleep, but it probably will prompt more questions about animals after dark.